Why I'm not tweeting images of my Ship 30 for 30 essays

As my fellow shippers know, the standard way to share your daily essay during the Ship 30 for 30 writing challenge is by tweeting an image of it.

This means the essay is flattened copy and can’t be read by most screen readers—technology that allows visually impaired people to read text on a computer.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 2 billion people worldwide have a vision impairment.

That’s a lot of people who might not be able to read our essays.

For sure, not all folks with a vision impairment use a screen reader, but images like this can be challenging to read in other ways too. For example, I admit to liking my font size larger than I did a few years ago (ahem) but a flattened image limits how much you can increase the text’s size. You also can’t customize colour or contrast to help with visibility.

And while I’m lucky if someone other than my husband reads my essays, I wanted to see if I could do this challenge with a bit of consideration to digital accessibility.

Keeping it simple and accessible

Thankfully, accessibility advocate Alexa Heinrich and her Facebook group Accessible Social came to my rescue with their wisdom.

I considered a few alternatives, like doing a tweet thread instead of an image. Needing as few obstacles to doing this daily challenge as possible, I went with the simplest option for me: publishing my essays on my blog and sharing them via a link on Twitter.

(I would have just linked to the individual essay on Typeshare—the writing software recommended by Ship 30 for 30—but that’s not possible yet.)

I admit, I felt a bit hesitant to go against the norm by not sharing the essay images. I love the camaraderie in the Ship 30 for 30 community and worry that taking this approach will separate me somehow from my other shippers.

Please, dear shippers, don’t throw me overboard just yet!

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